GOP earns House victory in Minnesota

GOP earns House victory in Minnesota
© Courtesy of Jim Hagedorn

For Republican Jim Hagedorn, the fourth time was the charm.

Hagedorn, a former Treasury Department official, defeated Democrat Dan Feehan in Minnesota's 1st District on Tuesday to replace outgoing Rep. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal New governors chart ambitious paths in first 100 days Minnesota House votes to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants MORE (D), securing a rare pickup for the Republicans in a cycle when they’ve been largely forced to defend their own vulnerable seats.

Hagedorn — whose father, Thomas Hagedorn, once represented Minnesota’s 2nd District in Congress — had run unsuccessfully for the House in 2010, 2014 and 2016. The latter two races were losses to Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in congressional history, who vacated the seat after six terms to run for governor.

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Feehan was among the host of Democratic military veterans running for Congress for the first time this year, having served two terms in Iraq and earning a Bronze Star in the process. Taking a page from Walz’s successful playbook, Feehan featured his military service on the campaign trail, hoping the message would resonate in a district that’s home to 40,000 veterans.

Yet Jim Hagedorn argued that Feehan was simply too liberal for the district, a largely rural area that stretches from South Dakota to Wisconsin along the state’s entire southern border. He pointed to Feehan’s positions on immigration, abortion and guns as being out of touch with district voters, vowing to stick with the hard-line conservative script championed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE.

Hagedorn had the wind at his back: Although former President Obama won the district in both 2008 and 2012, Trump reversed the trend in striking fashion two years ago, defeating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren policy ideas show signs of paying off Biden at campaign kickoff event: I don't have to be 'angry' to win Top Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem MORE, the Democratic nominee, by a 15-point margin. Heading into Tuesday, the district was the only Democratic seat rated a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper.